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French protests hit airport fuel line

France's main airport has only a few days' worth of jet fuel left, it was announced on Saturday, as the strikes against government pension plans continued to disrupt infrastructure.

world Updated: Oct 16, 2010 23:34 IST

France's main airport has only a few days' worth of jet fuel left, it was announced on Saturday, as the strikes against government pension plans continued to disrupt infrastructure.

The transport ministry warned of the fuel shortage at the Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris as hundreds of thousands took part in another national protest against President Nicolas Sarkozy's bill to raise the retirement age.

The country has already endured four days of strikes, affecting flights, rail services, hospitals and schools. Diesel supplies were running low in parts of France as unions announced that workers at all 12 fuel-producing refineries were now on strike, and many depots were being blockaded. Police yesterday forced three crucial fuel depots to reopen.

A ministry spokesman said officials were working to restore aviation fuel supplies, and the transport minister, Dominique Bussereau, said there was no reason to fear a general shortage.

The fuel supply into the Paris region and international airports was cut yesterday from a pipeline running south from Le Havre. Trapil, the company that operates the pipeline to the Paris airports, said Roissy-Charles de Gaulle could run out of fuel as early as next week.

A transport ministry spokesman said reserves would last until late on Monday or Tuesday. But he said the pipeline is now working intermittently.